What are stereotypes?

by chickenhilton

What are stereotypes?

We use stereotypes everyday, and most of the time we do not realise we are doing this.  We make a generalisation of a group of people or an individual mainly due to their physical appearance and will view them as their stereotype/stereotypes, even if the stereotype may not be true.  I will be covering the questions of, what are stereotypes, how does our own personal use of stereotypes in everyday life affect us and the people around us and where stereotypes are most commonly found.

Stereotypes are how a particular individual or a group of people are seen through the eyes of society due to broad generalisations that are often seen in the media. People are generally stereotyped because of their physical appearance such as hair colour or skin colour, but are also often stereotyped due to their culture/religion (such as Jewish people and Muslim people).  People can also be stereotyped on how they dress, their accents and many other aspects of their personality and physical appearance. Stereotypes can be either positive or negative, however most stereotypes have negative affects on people as they can often be seen as something they aren’t, such as how blonde’s are given the stereotype of being dumb and Asian’s are given the stereotype of being smart.

Our personal use of stereotypes can affect us in everyday life and the people around us without us being aware.  We can use stereotypes when first meeting people as we will take in their physical appearance and view them as their stereotype no matter what that may be.  In some cases stereotypes that we apply to people may be true, but often enough they are not and this can majorly affect any potential relationships we may have with someone as we will judge them before we even get to know them, and although most of the time we do not realise we are doing this and may not see the affect that it has on us and those around us, stereotypes still play a major roll in our everyday lives.

Stereotypes are generally seen within the media, especially in Movies and TV shows.  Because stereotypes are so often conveyed in the media and it is so easy to be exposed to the media we often see and hear stereotypes everyday, and we usually do not recognise this. Racist, sexist and ageist comments are usually seen in the media and this can easily affect our own way of thinking which greatly affects our views on different groups and individuals within society.  Besides Movies and TV shows we can also be introduced to stereotypes through the news, books, articles, magazines and any other source of media as stereotypes can be conveyed in any way, shape or form.

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Stereotypes are pretty much just the representation of an individual or a group of people based on their appearance.  According to Google, representation means many different things, like someone acting on behalf of someone else.  However, in the case of stereotypes representation means “the description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way”.  This pretty much means that based on someone’s appearance or personality (description) they portray themselves in a particular way that may or may not be true, which just means we view them as a particular stereotype.  For example, if you saw someone with blonde hair you may automatically think of the dumb blonde stereotype, and this is a stereotype, which is generally untrue.


We use stereotypes in our everyday lives even though we don’t realise we are doing so, we use them to generalise individuals and groups of people based on how they look and because of their personalities, we generally use stereotypes because of how often we are exposed to them within different aspects of modern day media.

Featured image link: https://nomorestigmakula.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/fighting-stereotypes/